MERRILLVILLE | A local nonprofit health care center has expanded its reach in the region, marked with a grand opening Thursday.
NorthShore Health Centers began accepting patients June 18 at its Merrillville location, 6091 Broadway, and has served more than 800 medical and 300 dental patients in the first five weeks, said CEO Janice Wilson.
Dental, pediatrics, family medicine and ob/gyn are among the available services. NorthShore Health Centers provides affordable health cared to uninsured and underinsured residents of Lake and Porter counties. Fees vary, based on income level, for uninsured people who qualify.
NorthShore is run by a board of directors.
"Fifty one percent of the board are users," she said. "They are patients of the health center."
About 13 percent of NorthShore's budget comes from federal dollars, Wilson said.
Every patient pays something. An unemployed person may pay $20 for a visit, which does not include the cost of extras, such as tests, she said.
"We wanted it to be affordable," she said. "You don't want to have to turn people away."
Merrillville was in need of medical services, because a number of offices had closed or moved, Wilson said.
"It ended up being kind of a blighted area, in terms of health care," she said.
The volume of patients already served proves there was a demand, she said.
NorthShore started as a small clinic at Portage High School and expanded to locations across the street from the high school and in Lake Station. Two dental offices, one located in Portage and the second in Lake Station provide preventative and corrective dental care.
The offices emphasize preventive dental and medical care. Wilson anticipates NorthShore will continue to expand locations.